04 February 2013


It is the third week of school bus strike in New York City.  Since I have some extra time, I've been accompanying my son on the subway to and from school.  It's a very unpleasant task.  While most kids wait quietly for the train to arrive, there are always some horsing around on the platform as if it's a playground.  Other kids would walk between subway cars as if they are mere escalator.  One even walked between cars while viewing a tablet, perhaps an iPad mini.  I am surprised none has fallen into the tracks yet.  Then there are those so-called students walking around with no book-bags whatsoever.  One day, one such non-student ran into my subway car shouting something to the effect of "It's that kid from yesterday!" and ran into the next car, followed, supposedly by two or three of his accomplices.  At the terminal where I transferred to my train to get home, when son and I were getting into the subway car I saw the same group already inside, with another group of kids standing around in circle, looking about furtively.  Things looked suspicious so we went to the next car.  Sure enough, at the first stop out of the terminal, as the train was pulling into the station I heard over the P.A. someone telling the conductor not to open the doors.  Everyone on the train was trapped inside.  Four police officers were then seen walking the platform, one officer had his arm around a kid, the officer's hand resting on the kid's shoulder, as they went toward the front of the train.  Some of the officers visited my car then quickly exited.  A long time later, the search proved futile, the doors were opened to let people in and out, and the train continued its course.

The next day, while waiting for my son in the subway station, I noticed three men hanging out in the same area.  Plain clothes of blue jeans and jackets, no visible insignia.  When the kid that walked the platform with the officers yesterday came into the station, however, these three men went with him.  The Q train arrived, after the usual awful long wait, the kids rudely fought their way into the train as usual, and the train went to the next stop.  However, again, at Bright Beach station, the conductor was told not to open the doors.  The undercover cops went about their work with the kid, and soon enough the non-student from yesterday with his partners-in-crime were taken off the train with their hands behind their back.  I could not tell if they were handcuffed or restrained with plastic cuffs but they sure were detained.

My guess is that the day before the gang robbed the other kid of his cell phone.  It happens so often these day, it's a safe guess.  I do know one kid who just the week before was robbed of his smartphone, in the same terminal.  I heard he was also hurt a bit, although when I saw him this week he didn't have any obvious sign of injury on the face.  This other kid that was helped by the police, perhaps he knows someone in the police force, or just happened to run into the police and decided to try his luck in getting back his phone.  The local police blotter didn't have any info so my guess is just that, a guess.

I do wonder what happened afterward.  For sure those robber kids went back home after a short detention at the police precinct.  Were they scared enough to refrain from doing what they did?  Or did they think it was an adventure that they want to re-visit?  How about that victim kid?  I wonder how safe it is for him nowadays to ride the subway.

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